Divine Generosity and Human Creativity: Theology through Symbol, Painting and Architecture

Divine Generosity and Human Creativity: Theology through Symbol, Painting and Architecture

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Divine Generosity and Human Creativity: Theology through Symbol, Painting and Architecture by David Brown

Partly in a desire to defend divine freedom and partly because it is seen as the only way of preserving a distinctive voice for theology, much contemporary theology has artificially restricted revelation and religious experience, effectively cutting off those who find God beyond the walls of the Church. Against this tendency, David Brown argues for divine generosity and a broader vision of reality that sees God deploying symbols (literary, visual and sacramental) as a means of mediating between the divine world and our own material existence. A sustained argument for divine interaction and more specifically the ways in which God speaks in the wider imaginative world, this volume calls for a careful listening exercise since symbols are richer and more open in their possibilities than their users often suppose. Not only is this true of the imagery of Scripture, even inanimate objects like buildings or hostile but creative artists can have important things to say to the believing Christian. An ideal introduction that also moves the conversation forward, this volume addresses foundations, the multivalent power of symbols, artists as theologians and meaning in religious architecture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781317148920
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/22/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
File size: 645 KB

About the Author

David Brown retired from the University of St Andrews as Professor of Theology, Aesthetics and Culture in 2015, having previously held positions at Oxford and Durham. Five major volumes on relations between theology and the arts were published with OUP between 1999 and 2008, with a large edited volume on Durham Cathedral: History, Fabric and Culture (Yale, 2015) his most recent contribution. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012.

Christopher R. Brewer (PhD, St And) is a Program Officer of the Templeton Religion Trust in Nassau, The Bahamas. He has edited or co-edited six volumes including Christian Theology and the Transformation of Natural Religion: From Incarnation to Sacramentality––Essays in Honour of David Brown.

Robert MacSwain is Associate Professor of Theology at the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, USA. The author of Solved by Sacrifice: Austin Farrer, Fideism, and the Evidence of Faith, he has edited or co-edited six other volumes, including Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Responses to the Work of David Brown.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction Christopher R. Brewer

Part I



  1. In the Beginning Was the Image
  2. Why Theology Needs the Arts
  3. Learning from Pagans

    Part II

    The Power of Symbols


  5. Understanding Symbol
  6. Baptism and Water as Cosmological Symbol
  7. ‘The darkness and the light are both alike to thee’: Finding God in Limited Light and Darkness

    Part III

    Artists as Theologians


  9. The Annunciation as True Fiction
  10. Why the Ascension Matters
  11. Artists on the Trinity

    Part IV

    Meaning in Religious Architecture


  13. Architecture and Theism
  14. Interfaith Dialogue through Architecture
  15. Tensions Between Politics and Religious Symbolism in Architecture
  16. Worshipping with Art and Architecture

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